Gay Days

Gay Days at Walt Disney World will be here again before we know it, so I thought I would give you a history of how this annual event got started. As I so often do, I’ll begin my story at Disneyland.

In the 1960’s and 70’s, the Disney Company regularly rented Disneyland to corporations and organizations for a “Private Party” to be held in the evening after the park closed to regular paying guests. These “parties” were very much like “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” or “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party,” in that it required a separate ticket to attend. But unlike MVMCP & MNSSHP, the company or organization renting the park was responsible for selling the tickets rather than Disney. In addition, they would have to guarantee at least seven thousand people would attend the event. These parties usually took place in the off season when Disneyland closed at 6pm. After a quick turnaround, Disneyland would reopen at 7pm or 8pm for party guests and remain open until 1am. These party tickets were generally cheaper than regular admission so many Southern Californians would wait for their company’s night for their annual trip to Disneyland. In addition, ticket books were not required at these events so guests could ride the Matterhorn repeatedly without worrying about running out of “E” coupons.

Many organizations had standing reservations and year after year, their group would attend in a certain month. When I was a kid, my stepfather was in the military. Every year we attended Navy Night sometime in the dead of winter. I can still remember seeing my breath in the night sky as I drove my Autopia car in Tomorrowland – thrilled to be at Disneyland.

To give you an interesting example of one private party, Elizabeth Taylor rented Fantasyland for her 60th birthday for just herself and a few thousand of her closest friends.

When I started working at Disneyland, I of course was scheduled to work many of these private parties. It was interesting to learn that various groups would behave differently from one another or had different needs. For example, working at the Blue Bayou Restaurant, we knew that one pot of coffee was all we needed on Mormon Night.

In 1978 (or 1979), a number of gay individuals in Southern California decided that they wanted to rent Disneyland for an evening – just like any other group. However, they had a two-fold problem. First, they knew that the Disney organization would never allow homosexuals to hold a private party at Disneyland. And second, they needed an organization to represent their group. (You need to remember, in the 1970s, there were very few openly gay organizations.) To solve their problem, leaders of the community created the Greater Los Angeles Restaurant and Bar Association. This was a loose alliance of gay bars and restaurants located in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

With their organization in place, the leaders of the association approached Disney and requested a party date – never mentioning that their group had anything to do with gays. A minimum attendance was guaranteed and contracts signed.

A couple of weeks before the big night, Disney found out that the Greater Los Angeles Restaurant and Bar Association was a group of gay bars and restaurants. They tried to cancel the party, but legal action was threatened and Disney knew they didn’t have a leg to stand on and backed down. When the big night arrived, Disney had extra supervision and security available to handle the perceived behavioral infractions that the night promised to bring. However, these precautions were not needed. The group behaved no better or worse than any other company or organization who rented the park. It was just another, uneventful private party. However, one interesting oddity was reported by the waitresses at the Blue Bayou Restaurant. They said that no other group tipped as well.

Even though the party went off without a hitch, Disney was not happy having “deviants” rent their park. The next day, Disney handed out a letter of apology to every cast member who had worked the party. In the letter, management stated deep regret for subjecting their cast members to such unacceptable working conditions and promised that nothing like this would ever happen again.

The following year, The Greater Los Angeles Restaurant and Bar Association once again approached Disney about renting the park for an evening. They were flatly turned down. However, Knott’s Berry Farm and Magic Mountain (now Six Flags Magic Mountain) were more than happy to rent their parks to gays and continued doing so for a number of years.

In 1980, Andrew Exler and his date Shawn Elliott were fast dancing in Tomorrowland at Disneyland. Two security guards witnessed the gentlemen and approached them on the dance floor. One guard said, “This is a family park — there’s no room for alternative life styles. Two men can’t dance together, this is our policy.” The second guard said, “We make our own rules — this is a private park.” When the two men continued to dance, they were taken to Disneyland’s security office and eventually asked to leave the park for the rest of the evening. Exler subsequently sued Disney and the case languished in the courts for four years. In May 1984, a superior court judge ruled that Exler’s civil rights had been violated and ordered Disney to abolish their ban on same sex dancing and pay attorney fees amounting to $25,000. Disney did pay the attorney fees, but maintained that the lawsuit was not a class action suit, thus, would only apply to Exler and Elliott. No other gays would be allowed to dance at Disneyland. On August 14, 1985 Disneyland quietly reversed their 28-year-old policy that prohibited partners of the same sex from dancing together in the park. However, this apparently didn’t include slow dancing.

In late 1987, three UCLA students were told, “touch dancing is reserved for heterosexual couples only.” In response, they filed a lawsuit against Disney citing another civil rights violation. However, before the case ever made it to the courts, Disney reassessed the situation and backed down.

In 1984, Michael Eisner became CEO of The Walt Disney Company. At that time, Eisner named Jeffrey Katzenberg to head Disney’s motion picture divisions. Shortly after arriving, it was brought to Katzenberg’s attention that Disney was the only major movie studio to deny domestic partner benefits to its employees. Realizing that the company was losing talented people to the competition because of this policy, Katzenberg was instrumental in rescinding it. On January 1, 1986, Disney began offering full benefits to the domestic partners of its employees.

In 1991, Doug Swallow and some of his Orlando friends decided to get a group together to visit the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. They picked the first Saturday in June. The idea was promoted at gay venues around the city and people were asked to wear red shirts so fellow attendees could recognize one another. It’s estimated that 1,000 to 1,500 showed up. The event was successful enough that another Gay Days was planned for the following year – once again, the first Saturday in June.

For the second Gay Days, Disney issued a memo to cast members instructing them to disavow any knowledge of the event.

In 1994, Disney posted signs at ticket booths and near the main gate informing guests that there was a gay and lesbian gathering at the Magic Kingdom. However, the signs went on to say “Walt Disney World is open to everyone. We do not discriminate on any basis.”

Disney received a lot of flak for these signs. It was pointed out to management that they would never dream of posting similar signs if another minority were to visit the park in mass. The signs did not reappear in 1995. However, for several years thereafter Disney distributed flyers to their hotel rooms informing guests that the Magic Kingdom would be very busy on that day and perhaps they might want to visit another park. Gay Days was not mentioned as the reason.

Disney also started providing their Guest Relations cast members with prepared statements to calm homophobic guests. In essence, the statements said that Walt Disney World is open to everyone and they do not discriminate against anyone. In some cases, Disney would swap out a 1-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom for another park for irate guests.

It is estimated that 50,000 participants visited the Magic Kingdom for Gay Days in 1995.

In 1997, Disney rented Typhoon Lagoon to the event organizers for an after-hours party – a tradition that continues to this day. In that same year, the Southern Baptist voted to boycott Disney because of Gay Days and Disney’s domestic partner benefits. The boycott had little to no effect on the company and was rescinded in 2005.

In 1998, the City of Orlando flew rainbow flags downtown to welcome visitors. And in 2002, Gay Days is referred to specifically in welcome letters from the Orlando mayor and Orange County chairman.

Today, Gay Days attracts over 150,000 visitors to the Orlando area for the week-long celebration. Besides special days at the Disney parks, over forty events are held in and around Orlando and it’s estimated that more than $100 million is pumped into the local economy. Website is now on the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau membership roster and part of VISIT FLORIDA, the state tourism agency.

The Disney theme park days for 2012 are as follows:

Thursday, May 31 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Friday, June 1 – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Saturday, June 2 – Magic Kingdom
Sunday, June 3 – Epcot

Saturday, October 6 – Disneyland
Sunday, October 7 – Disney’s California Adventure

For more information, visit and

In response to a rash of suicides among bullied gay teenagers, columnist Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller began an internet-based project entitled, “It Gets Better.” They requested that gay adults create videos, telling lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth that things will get better as they grow older and to hang in there — their lives have value. And if they are being bullied, let someone know.

Disney has joined the fight against gay bullying and created a video featuring cast members from across the company.

To view the official “It Gets Better” website, click here.

All bullying must stop!

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52 Replies to “Gay Days”

  1. My partner and I celebrated our tenth anniversary at Disney World. We went to Citrico’s, and there was a nice menu made up for the two of us, and none of the cast members even blinked an eye that we were two men. What huge strides we’ve made. Thank you once again for this post.

  2. Jack, I always enjoy your articles. Thank you for having the courage to post this one. I am a straight, married female, but I get disgusted at the discrimination that gays in particular have to deal with, especially in public or while on vacation. I am glad Disney has stepped up to provide a place where everyone can have a safe and comfortalbe experience.

  3. Hey Jack, great article on Gay Days. I had always wondered about the history of it. We had unknowningly booked a trip a few years back during this annual event, and we had a blast!

    One thing worth mentioning…we decided to check out the MK on the busy Saturday of Gay Days. We observed that there were actually LESS strollers on the paths and the crowd levels were quite comfortable by noon or so. The park seemed easier to maneuver, lines were not bad and everyone was very friendly and fun.

  4. Thanks for the honest account of the regrettable history and for demonstrating how a giant company like Disney can change its policies. I am also encouraged that Disney participated in the It Gets Better initiative! I hope to see more social justice oriented media from such an influential company. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  5. I was there during gay Days last year. At the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, when they recognized guests celebrating anniversaries, it was so nice to see same-sex couples honored alongside the heterosexual ones. We really have come such a long way.

    Jack’s Comment:

    I can assure you, they didn’t always recognize same-sex celebrations at Hoop-Dee-Doo. But thankfully, things have changed for the better.

  6. Thank you so much for posting the video — I am familiar with the “It Gets Better” initiative but had not seen Disney’s entry. Every time I watch one of those videos I tear up a little.

    Thank you also for the history — some of it is hard to read, but I’m glad for the happy ending. Kudos to the ones who led the way.

  7. Great Blog as always, Jack. Had no idea there was such a history attached to Gay Days.

    Have special happy memories of drinks up at California Grill a few years ago during Gay Days. Usually sit at the windows but the tables were all taken, so we sat at the bar. Well, wouldn’t you know it if half a dozen Pirates showed up. They looked as if they had been professionally done at the Pirate boutique. We all roared with laughter which was electrifying to the crowd already there. Everyone and I mean everyone there had a smashing good time.
    Advise anyone gay or straight to head right to a Disney bar for drinks during the festivities. You never know, AARRRGGG, who you might meet.

  8. That was a very interesting and insightful look into the days leading up to today. Thank you for sharing and “Good Job” Disney for changing with the times.

  9. Every time I visit this blog, I know I’ll be a bit more knowledgeable than I was before. As a proud Ally in the LGBTQA community, it gives me great joy to learn how far we’ve come in the Happiest Place on Earth. Thank you, Jack!

  10. How funny! My sister and I happened upon Gay Days one year on an annual visit. It must have been the one year you mentioned they posted a sign about it. We didn’t really see any difference. We thought the sign seemed a little paranoid. Were there really people boycotting? Or asking for refunds? We didn’t see any of that and you didn’t mention if people actually took Disney up on the offer of refunds.

    Excellent article! As always!

    Whenever I went dancing at Mannequins Dance Palace (at any time of year), I did notice a large number of same sex couples. I did wonder if the reason this fantastic dance club! was closed was a misplaced bout of homophobia. Do you have any history on Mannequins?

    Jack’s Answer:

    If an unsuspecting guest is having trouble dealing with Gay Days, they will be directed to Guest Relations located at City Hall. I know that in the past, guests with one-day, non-hopper passes are often asked if they’d like to exchange their ticket for another park. I have heard other stories of Guest Relations going to lengthy measures to pacify homophobic guests, but I hesitate to repeat any of this as I don’t want to set up false expectations or perpetuate rumors. Most attendees of Gay Days will be completely unaware of any unhappy guests.

    After this article was posted, I spoke with a Disney security friend of mine. I inquired if more security was added for Gay Days. I was assured that no extra shifts are added as it simply isn’t necessary.

    As for Mannequins… Disney allowed cast members free admission to Mannequins on Thursday nights. Over time, this turned into an unofficial gay night and the gay Walt Disney World cast members could often be seen here in numbers once a week.

  11. Yay, yay, yay!! I have always loved “The World According to Jack” blogs….but this is, without question, my favorite. What a wonderful history of an often misunderstood (and misrepresented) event! I am so grateful that most of my trips to WDW have occurred during the time when Disney understood the importance of valuing ALL customers. I have never been during Gay Days (too hot, too crowded and too many DVC points to stay there that time of year! LOL), but even during the rest of the year I have always found WDW to be one of the most affirming and special places to vacation—-just one of the many reasons that I love it. This past September, my husband and I (after FINALLY being allowed to legally marry in NY State earlier in the summer in July), went to WDW and were given the traditional “just married” buttons when we checked in at the resort….and from that moment on the CMs at WDW and on the Disney Dream went out of their way to make us feel special and celebrated…and we will always treasure those memories!

  12. Jack, a great and unexpectedly-happy-feeling-causing post! My brother and best friend are gay and have gone to, I believe, the last 6-7 gay days. I’ve never attended. However, this year I have an annual pass and no commitments to school or friends, so I’m finally attending my first gay days! My girlfriend’s even been – accidentally on a family trip when she was nine years old – so I guess I’m the last in the group to go experience the fun. As a poster above said, it took a lot for you to post this and a lot for allears to publish it, so I’m happy to be a consistent reader of yours and of allears.

    Gotta find my “straight but not narrow” shirt, in red…


  13. Jack, Thank you so much for posting this. I just find it amazing that all this took place not too long ago! It’s a shame but I’m glad it turned out as it did.

  14. That is interesting insight and useful background as always! I’ve always wondered why Gay Days was in June which is one of the busier months (as is anytime kids are out of school). Since the gay population is statistically least likely to have kids, if I were gay I’d prefer it to be during a less busy time of year. Do you think the organizers would ever shift it to sometime like October during Food and Wine fest? That’s when we go (a childless hetero couple).
    P.S. I’m going in June this year with friends and their kids and not looking forward to the heat and crowd!

    Jack’s Answer:

    June is Gay Pride Month so I assume that is why the organizers of Orlando’s version of this event chose to visit in June. Since this event is now over two decades old, I can’t see the organizers changing the date. Why Disneyland’s Gay Days is in October, I do not know.

  15. While I enjoy all of your blog posts, this one was extra-special, Jack. I don’t know if you are straight or gay, but either way, it took courage for you to write this and it took courage for to post it. I’m proud of you and Allears for having that courage.

    And I’m proud of Disney, too. Granted, their decision to back away from discrimination may well have been motivated by more than just wanting to do the right thing, but regardless–they have created a place where EVERYONE can feel happy and safe. Whether you’re gay, vegetarian, deaf, extra-large, shy, a pirate, a thrill-seeker, a bird-watcher, a non-English speaker, 90 or nine years old, Disney works hard to make sure your experience is as special, as fun, as magical, as everyone else’s. That’s to be applauded, regardless of the reasons behind it.

  16. Wow, what a fascinating history. As a teenager in Los Angeles, I would attend ‘gay night’ at Knott’s Berry Farm and Magic Mountain; I don’t recall ever hearing of one for Disneyland. Anyhow, they were fun events. As a kid in Utah, we had special nights set aside at local amusement parks for our particular (Mormon) ward. It was fun being at the place with other people we knew. The guests who attend these events come to have fun, not to push for any agenda or cause. It’s a great service offered by the various parks and I hope it continues. For Disneyland in particular, it communicates that the park is for everyone (!!). Great article.

  17. Jack,

    Thank you for your insite. This hetro family will be there that week. It is also the opening of Art Of Animation. I think it is wonderful that Disney is open to everyone and will find this to be just one more experience for our disney memories. And hey it it the Happiest Place on Earth and isn’t that what being gay means….being happy and being who you are!!!! BORN THAT WAY!!! My Daugher at 7 is aware there are Adam and Eve, Adam and Steve, Alice and Eve. We meet all kinds of people on our trips so this will be really fun and reading from others maybe not a bunch of cranky pants we run into a lot.

  18. Jack,

    Thanks for posting this article. It’s gratifying to see the positive reception based on the comments. Disney — and the United States — really has come a long way.


  19. Remember every group spends money–Disney would be foolish to deny any large group! I wonder if the ‘correct intentions’ were present or if it was seen as a no-brainer to allow thousands of Guests into the Parks to spend money Resort wide. I like crowds at Disney, the more the merrier.

  20. Thanks for the history Jack. Haven’t we made amazing strides in our lifetime? I never feel out of place at WDW. Kudos to those who went before me and paved the way for acceptance and kudos to all the wonderful, tolerant, outspoken, loving Disney friends I’ve gained along the way.

  21. Jack – I’ve often wondered how this event came into existence at Disney, so thanks for the education.

    Admittedly, I’m not gay, nor do I know anyone that is. I certainly have convictions and an opinion about the matter, but I think the single thing that bothers me most lies in the attribution of a hateful or fearful attitude toward gay persons. I have never understood the logic of assuming that someone that disagrees with you does so out of hate and/or fear. I personally don’t smoke, and I firmly believe it’s a bad habit. However, I neither hate nor fear the people that choose to smoke.

    That’s the piece I’ve never quite understood.

    Thanks again for the post. I do enjoy your blog.

  22. What a GREAT article Jack ! Once again you dug deep and got some great info for us to read. I knew some of the info, but it’s still hard to read how bad Gay people were treated in the earlier days, I’m glad that they have done a 180 and now are very supportive of Gay people and Gay employees. While not gay myself, I have always been a fighter for Gay people, I hate to see the blatant hate and discrimination that gay people too often face, I do my best to get people to realize that gay people are NO different than anyone else we all seek Love and Affection in this world, does it really matter who we get it from as long as 2 consenting adults are happy? While I haven’t gotten a chance to go to a Gay days event yet, I would love to, I have found that most gay people are VERY courteous and kind and so much fun. Thanks for being so open minded and writing such a great article !

  23. Great article. I have to agree with one of the commentors that said it was hard to read how they reacted back when gay days first started. But it does show such great growth and progress that Disney has done to be inclusive of everyone. Thank you for taking the time to write about the history. And thank you very much for showing the It Gets better video. I really like those videos. And this one was so very well made. These videos are not just good for the young gay people but also for anyone that is getting bullied. All Bullying must stop! and we are taking steps in the right direction.

  24. Great blog Jack. You should have posted a few pictures of some of the outrageous outfits people where on Gay Days! Now THAT would have been funny, LOL!

    You mentioned that you worked at the Blue Bayou. The Monte Cristo may just be my favorite Disney meal of all time!

    Take care.

  25. My first trip to WDW was during Gay Days back in 2005. My (now) wife’s aunts kept warning us that it would basically be a festival of inappropriate behavior from sun up to sun down. We didn’t pay any attention to these warnings because, well, because they seemed exactly what they were, ridiculous. I wouldn’t have known that anything special was going on if I hadn’t been told. The park was crowded, but it was June, the park was going to be crowded. The only sign of it being Gay Days is the fact that I, not realizing it had any significancy, wore a red shirt. When we got home, we found we had more than a few pictures of me being checked out. So that was an ego booster!

  26. Thank you Jack for sharing the back story and history of Gay Days. It makes me sad and angry to think that it took Disney so long to come to their senses on this issue.

  27. Thank you so much for posting this. We see so little of gay history, it is nice to be able to read about it and know where we have been and how far we have come. I have been to gay days several years and always enjoyed it. The magic is forever and seems so much more personal during this time.

  28. We were in Magic Kingdom one year during one of the “Gay Days.” It was one of the funnest days we have ever spent at Disney. More than ten years later, we still talk about what a great day it was. We met so many interesting and fun people that day, and loved watching people be themselves and soak in the magic of Disney. Such a fond memory! The video, incidentally, is wonderful!

  29. My first knowledge of the Gay Days was on my 16th birthday in June of 2000. My present from my parents was 2 nights at the Polynesian (with mom and best friend) and Saturday we were at the Magic Kingdom. It was the BEST birthday ever! Even considering that it’s the 2nd, so very often is the first weekend of the month, and indeed was a Friday that year. It was really, really cool. Everyone there for GayDays was so nice and friendly and helpful, and it was seriously one of the best days I have ever spent in the park. You know how you go and you get tired, cranky people sniping at you, or being rude, just because they’re not thinking so much about others sharing the space? So not the case!

    I don’t know what it’s like now, 12 years later, but my birthday actually falls on that Saturday this year, so I suppose I’ll see – I have plans to get a photo with Mickey & Minnie at the Magic Kingdom, and then go to a nice dinner at Chefs de France to celebrate. 🙂

  30. Thank you so much for this article! Disney has come so far! Since it is now viewed by many as one of the most accepting companies in the world, it is hard to believe there was a time when Disney did discriminate based on sexual orientation. Thanks again for the great history lesson! 🙂

  31. Jack it’s good to be reminded of this area of the history of gays in the USA.
    I worked at Disneyland in the 1960s and 70s and I recall the dangerous angry reaction of many fellow cast members when I mentioned my being gay, which I did openly.
    Happily there were others who showed support, yeah!
    I believe the atmosphere for guests and cast members is better for being more inclusive.

  32. Jack – What a well-written article! There is am enabling power that comes from saying things out loud. It is about time the world of acceptance and grace speak instead of sitting in silence. I am glad Disney has decided to participate in that process. AND thanks to you for saying it “out loud”!

  33. Jack,

    Due to school/work calendars, my husband and I often visit the World during Gay Days. My daughters ages 6 and 12 don’t notice at all. Love is love in the Happiest Place on Earth! I had no idea that there was so much resistance early on. Bravo on this blog! ( My girls think that you make “movies” just for them! (Keeps them happy and busy for hours…)


  34. Because I simply can’t keep my mouth shut =)

    “It gets better” is one of those things that is intended to be a good thing, but really doesn’t do a whole lot for probably 65% of the audience it’s suggested for. Still, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

    Gay Days is another step in the right direction. In 34 years they’ve gone from being blacklisted to being a giant profit maker AND cheered on. I think that’s a wonderful thing. I hope it continues.

  35. hey jack
    it was very interesting to learn about the history of this event. it is great that disney has embraced everybody for who they are no matter what their preference is. can’t wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.

  36. Hi Jack! Thanks for another great written piece. I found the history of Gay Days to be very informative. I just wish in today’s society people weren’t labeled. It’s so degrading. People are people and should be accepted for who they are. Their character should count more than anything. 🙂

  37. Jack,
    I am so pleased to read about this event. I personally am a straight married woman; however, I am beyond excited to learn Disney has finally embraced ALL communities. I think of the ride It’s a Small World, where people of ALL races and heritages get together and sing and embrace. Why would we not have that same mentality with gay and lesbians? Disney (among other groups) should embrace EVERYONE: All colors, all heritage, all sexualities, all walks of life. Disney is a great place to celebrate all of our differences! In my book, we are all the same-and members of this SMALL WORLD!

    Thanks Jack- for another well wrote blog!!

  38. Wow-I have been to Disneyland during Gay Days and had no idea of the history that was behind it. I have always thought of Disney as a company that treated everyone as a valued guest, so it was nice to see them make a video like this, especially after what happened in the 70s and 80s. I am not gay myself, but have several friends who are, including some who enjoy visiting Disney parks. Knowing now that they are truly welcome to be there makes me feel a lot better about being a Disney fan. Thanks for posting Jack!

  39. Thank you for this article. How Disney has “come around”. I am so glad they participated in the It gets better” campaign. We pray it can only get better for all our kids. Bullying must not be tolerated ever!

  40. That was very interesting. And very well written. I didn’t know any of this history. The acceptance of gay people as a normal part of our society has come a long way. After Kirk Cameron’s silly, homophobic comments this weekend, clearly there is more to be done. But this progression demonstrated by Disney gives me hope. Great article!! xoxo

  41. Hi Jack,

    This blog was very emotional for me to read.

    I remember the Disneyland event in the late 70s, and I have to say that I was afraid to attend. Since the event hit the media before it occurred, my fear was that with a large group of gay people gathered in one place, anti-gay bigots might be waiting to bash the attendees. I now greatly regret my decision not to attend.

    When the Disneyland event went off without a hitch, I attended the gay event night at Knotts Berry Farm with my late partner Dennis, and I have a souvenir photo hanging on my bedroom wall, which is one of my most cherished possessions.

    As you know, Orange County, California is the most conservative county in “the liberal State of California,” and as a gay kid growing up in that environment it’s hard to talk about all times I was the target of anti-gay bullying, at times by authority figures.

    These gay events provided a “safe” place to be one’s self and not fear violence.

    I arrived in Orlando (following my job) in time for the first Gay Day at Magic Kingdom in 1991. I have to admit that I miss those early days before it became an International event. They seemed more intimate, and it was just the one day.

    This year I will have a group to go with, which I’m so looking forward to, since it will be more fun than going alone.

    I do remember those days in the 90s when people protested the events or even proselytized inside the park.

    I think that finally in 2012, people may be getting over their anti-gay-hysteria, as more and more gay people are coming out, and more and more people are realizing that there are gay people in their families and workplaces. We are everyone, and everywhere, and nothing to be feared or “changed.”

    Great blog Jack, and I hope I didn’t get too “political.” 😉

  42. Thanks for sharing this Jack. I knew about Gay Days but didn’t know much about the history behind them. And I had never seen the Disney It Gets Better! It’s hard to read about the less compassionate times in Disney’s past, but I think it’s important to acknowledge them in order to appreciate how things have advanced. Here’s to continued progress.

  43. Thanks for posting this Jack, its great to see this video and you mentioning this to make people more aware and familiar with these events.

  44. Jack,
    Who knew? It was interesting to read about the progression from reviled to accepted. Are the featured days a 10 on the crowd calendar?

    Jack’s Answer:

    First, Disney does not make public attendance numbers so I can’t provide you with anything official.

    The Magic Kingdom is the busiest of the four days at Walt Disney World — and it definitely is a BUSY day. But the crowds are manageable. Gay Days can’t compare to the 4th of July or Christmas week.

  45. Thanks for the insightful history! People get so wound up about gay days; hopefully this calms them down some. Believe me, there is worse behavior on any given Friday or Saturday night with the “drink around the world” gangs in Epcot.

  46. Please do not cite Dan Savage. He himself is a bully, a thug. Look into how he treats people he disagrees with.

    Jack’s Comment:

    Dan Savage started the “It Gets Better” campaign. I make no other reference to him or his behavior.